What is the global incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)?

Updated: Dec 20, 2017
  • Author: Ashraf H Hamdan, MD, MBBCh, MSc, MRCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Santina A Zanelli, MD  more...
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No accurate data are available concerning worldwide incidence. Data from the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs suggests 6,000 babies are born to mothers who abuse drugs each year (1% of all UK deliveries). [26, 27] In the past, heroin was the most commonly abused drug. Women are now more likely to use cocaine, methadone, or more than one illicit drug.

In Europe, each year as many as 30,000 pregnant women use opioids, and the number of pregnant women using drugs other than opioids may be equally as high. [28]

In Canada, 3 of every 1,000 babies born from 2009–2010 had NAS. [29]

In Australia, the incidence of NAS as a discharge diagnosis decreased from 5.07 per 1000 live births in 2002, to 3.18 in 2011. [30]

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